Mother Earth Living


Sustainable in the Sierras: A Solar-Powered Home in Northern California

A builder blends handmade and high-tech to make his family's home resource-efficient and solar-powered.



Ed and Shannon Welch used recycled Douglas fir, cedar and redwood throughout their home, including on the front
Photography By Jim Beckett
Operable kitchen skylights release hot air in summer. Three-quarters of the cherry used for the kitchen cabinetry is Forest Stewardship Council-certified.
Photography By Jim Beckett
The structural insulated panels (SIPs) on the roof of the addition provide optimum insulation and require no ventilation. The Trex deck is made from recycled plastic grocery bags, reclaimed pallet wrap and wood waste. The lower stairs are salvaged redwood.
Photography By Jim Beckett
The roof has a radiant barrier, a reflective layer stapled to the underside of the sheathing to reduce exterior heat conduction. Exterior shingles are covered with a low-VOC stain.
Photography By Jim Beckett
The open kitchen allows space for a small work area. Built-in shelves and nooks provide neat, natural storage and display areas.
Photography By Jim Beckett
The spacious bathroom includes Travertine stone tiles and recycled Douglas fir cabinets, trim and interior doors.
Photography By Jim Beckett
A well-used Jason soaking tub is inviting and soothing.
Photography By Jim Beckett
Custom cabinets and concrete countertops add style to Ed and Shannon’s sustainable bathroom.
Photography By Jim Beckett





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